String Quartet No.2 in D major
Alexander Borodin

206

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The first of 3 entries for Borodin in the Ultimate Hall of Fame. This has appeared in every Hall of Fame chart and is currently at its lowest position: it's sitting in the 2015 countdown at number 292.

Musically speaking, the time of the String Quartet No.2 was the beginning of the end for Borodin. It was written when he was in his late forties and at exactly the period when finding time for music was becoming nigh on impossible. As a successful chemist he felt compelled to devote more and more of his time to his important scientific work, at the expense of his music.

Nevertheless, when he was forty-eight, and just one year after the composition of In the Steppes of Central Asia, he found himself with a free summer to compose his String Quartet No. 2. As with most things Borodin wrote, it is not short of tunes, something that proved a blessing when the writers of the musical Kismet came to use his music. The jaunty second movement provided them with 'Baubles, Bangles and Beads', while the third stumped up the show-stopping 'This is My Beloved'.

The bust of Borodin at his tomb in Tikhvin Cemetery, Saint Petersburg.